Children need routine. They thrive on routine. All children. Not just children with special needs.
Take my own child as an example. She is a typically developing 17-month-old. That doesn’t mean she is exempt from benefiting from routines.
It’s simple. Routines make life predictable.
Now consider a child with no verbal communication and limited communication skills. It gives them a sense of control over their world, when they know what to expect.
So why rob them of that?
I know too many parents that feel it is challenging to put their child and their family on a routine. I get that. I’m not asking for you to follow a schedule to a T (7am wake up, 7:30 breakfast, 8am get dressed, 9 school, 3 snack, 5 dinner, 7 shower…NO!) While some children WILL benefit greatly from this, it takes a lot for a parent to do this daily, especially when you have the rest of your family on a different schedule. If you thrive on a set time schedule, go for it. If that scares the heck out of you, try following a routine instead!
How? I’ll lay it out for you…
Take that schedule above and remove the times. The activities/events of the day, remain in the same order. They may just not happen at the same *time* everyday. That’s okay!
The important thing is to have a clear beginning and end. When that is in place, children learn the entire routine from start to finish MUCH faster!
The simple act of following a routine can help your child greatly!!!! Have you tried it yet?
Here are three apps to help make your morning routine easier, get it here.
Start by breaking it down by parts of the day. Morning, afternoon and night. Then go from there. See where it takes you. And I encourage you to avoid Dr. Google and create a routine that works for YOU and YOUR family!
Do you have a routine in place? Would love to hear how it’s working out for you!
I cannot believe it is already December 31, 2016! Where did 2016 go? I was looking at the top 10 posts on our Little Sprout Speech blog and wanted to share them with you. Surprisingly, you all had LOTS of questions on IEP meetings over on our facebook page but didn’t seem to access the blog posts as much on the site as much as you went for the list of questions to ask at an IEP meeting (find that here). I am glad that has been a useful resource to you! This year the popular posts centered around autism, apraxia, activities related to favorite children’s books, sensory processing disorder, setting expectations with your child and communicating with your nonverbal child. What a mix! I am so happy to be a resource for you all!
Here are the top 11 posts for you to enjoy again!
#1: A Letter To The Parents That Don’t Live With Autism
This was a popular one. You all REALLY liked this and rocked at sharing it so it would get to ALL parents. Let’s keep it going, share some more! We all know there are people who can benefit from reading this one (and I bet you can think of at least a handful of people right now!) http://www.littlesproutspeech.com/letter-for-parents-without-autism/
#2: Which Autism Diagnosis Does Your Child Have?
Did you know there is more than ONE type of Autism diagnosis? Read about it here: http://littlesproutspeech.com/two-different-types-of-autism-diagnoses/
#3: Teach Your Child Pronouns
This is an area that can be tricky for many preschoolers so when I wrote this one a while back I tried to break it down and make it super simple. Here ya go! http://littlesproutspeech.com/teaching-pronouns/
#4: Book Club Week 37: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
From when we used to have weekly “book club” – if you missed out on book club you can see what it is all about here: http://www.littlesproutspeech.com/book-club-week-37-very-hungry-caterpillar/
#5: 25 Songs For Autism & Apraxia Of Speech
And last but certainly not least, drum roll please…….some of my favorite songs for kiddos with autism and/or apraxia. http://www.littlesproutspeech.com/25-songs-autism-apraxia/
#6: Fall & Thanksgiving Speech & Language Activities
This is another oldie but goodie (so old it has my old website on it that from before I was married!!!) Maybe we should feature more activities on the blog in 2017. What do ya think? http://littlesproutspeech.com/fall-thanksgiving-speech-language-activities/
#7: 12 Signs of Sensory Overload
Does your child have meltdowns? Do you know how to spot the “triggers?” This will help! http://littlesproutspeech.com/12-signs-of-sensory-overload/
#8: How To Set Expectations With Your Child
This one tackles the topic of anxiety in children. If you think your child may have anxiety visit this article so you can get started with how to identify it and help them. http://littlesproutspeech.com/set-expectations/
#9: How To Teach Your Child “I Love You”
Wouldn’t it be awesome to hear your child say “I love you?” whether they learn to say it with their hands through sign or can say it verbally, the general consensus is….this article rocks! #ILoveYou http://www.littlesproutspeech.com/teach-child-love/
#10: 10 Tips To Communicate With Your Nonverbal Child
Do you know how to communicate with your nonverbal child? This is the place to start! http://littlesproutspeech.com/10-tips-to-communicate-with-your-nonverbal-child-with-autism/
#11: Repetitive Books: The PERFECT Home Activity for Apraxia
Here is yet another activity post! Not sure how to help your child with apraxia? These repetitive books are a FABULOUS place to start! And you can do it easily at home. http://littlesproutspeech.com/repetitive-books-apraxia-of-speech/
To access these posts click on the link below each photo (or on the photo’s themselves) and it will take you right to the original post! I would like to thank you for visiting my blog this year and love it when you leave comments!
I am always open to ideas and suggestions for posts so please let us know how we can help YOU in 2017. What questions do you have that you would like answered. Feel free to comment below or submit your questions here: What Would Hallie Do?
Happy New Year To YOU and YOUR Amazing Family!
Have you been hanging out with us over on facebook? If not, you are missing out! Join us!
One of our big focus points this month has been how to help your child succeed during their school day. One of the most important things that often gets overlooked is the importance of eating lunch! Why is it so important? Food is fuel! If your tank is on empty you are going to be hungry, cranky, angry (hangry?), more irritable and you lose your ability to focus.
Now think about your child. Do they eat lunch every day at school or is something preventing them from eating their lunch? You may send a lunch or lunch money for them to buy a lunch but they may just be sitting there trying to hold it together, unable to focus on eating their food.
Lunch rooms can be loud and the smells can be overbearing for some kiddos. This is true especially if your child has sensory processing disorder (SPD).
So what do you do? This is exactly what we spoke about here:
“No child should eat lunch alone”
And as a follow up, since the first video was so popular and sparked SO many questions, I did another free video answering questions and chatting MORE about helping your child succeed in school (especially during lunch hour)!
Check out part 2 here:
“When your child with autism wants to eat alone at school”
And here is that video I referenced in my Facebook Live: He Just Sued The School System
I hope you are having a GREAT day and your kiddo is having an even BETTER school year!! Sending lots of love and happy lunches your way!
It is okay for your child to come home from school and feel tired, occasionally have had a rough day and need to let off some steam or have a little cry (not that we want to see our babies cry…) but this should not happen every day. And it certainly should not be in the form of a daily post-school meltdown.
So what do we do?
First, take a look at the length of your child’s school day. How long is the school day? Are they used to being in school for this long? If yes, give them a few weeks to adjust. If this is all new to them, it may take a month to adjust.
Second, count how long they have been in school. When did school start and how many weeks or months are they into the school year? By rule of thumb (my rule and my thumb 😉 they should be out of meltdown mode within a month of school starting. So if you started middle to end of August, by the middle to end of September they should have adjusted.
Third, take a look at their placement. Do the staff members understand your child? Do they know HOW to work with your child and what your child needs in order to succeed in school? Do not assume that just because an individualized education plan (IEP) is in place, they have reviewed it in its entirety or know exactly how it applies to YOUR child. It takes time for a teacher to KNOW and UNDERSTAND a child. You can speed this up a bit by asking to have a meeting with the team to share information about your child and propose working together as a team to help them understand how to apply the IEP to your child’s current needs.
Fourth, consider whether or not they are eating in school. If they are not eating the lunch you are sending or ordering for them, what changes can be made so that they DO eat? Every child needs nutrition to make it through the school day, special needs or not! It’s a long day and it’s quite demanding academically and socially. So be sure they are given opportunities to eat (e.g., even if that means outside of the regular lunch hour and cafeteria).
Fifth, look at how much homework they are being given. Can they handle that much right now? It may be a good idea to work out an agreement with the teacher to limit homework during the week and/or extend the due date so they can do it when THEY can handle it and not just because it is due tomorrow. As they adjust to the school year, this can be adjusted to meet your child’s needs and the academic demands, but try to start out slow and build-up to help lessen those after school meltdowns.
Let me know what tips have worked for your child to limit after-school meltdowns. I bet they would help others so comment below and let’s discuss!
- Prepare your child. Some airports offer programs where you can do a “run through” or a “dress rehearsal” of what it will be like to travel to the airport, go through TSA (security), travel to your gate, and board the plane (including where you board – inside or outside?). You can find 15 airports in the US that offer programs and more resources here.
- If you have a hard time preparing your child through a local program/if one doesn’t exist, try some of these other suggestions…
- Explain what will happen and show it in pictures so your child has a visual of what the actual airport and airplane will look like. Talk about what they will see but also what they will hear. If you cannot go live, pull up youtube and find some videos to show your child of people in airports/on airplanes.
- Read a story or watch a movie about traveling to the airport and taking an airplane to a new place.
- Bring ear plugs, head phones, ear muffs/ear defenders,
- Pack a carry on bag of your child’s favorite snacks and toys (electronics included…this is a GREAT time to break out the iPad!)
- Think ahead. You may not have access to internet at the airport and/or on the plane. Download favorite TV shows/movies ahead of time so your child can watch them when needed, even if wifi is not available!
- Have your child sit in the window seat so they are less visually overstimulated once on the plane. That seat will allow them to focus on YOU and help keep them calm and regulated on the plane.
- Make a schedule for when you travel. Put on times for leaving and arriving at airport, boarding airplane, taking off, landing, etc. Keep in mind that you may need to change these times so leave that as an option on the schedule you make!
- Let the gate attendant and flight attendants know that your child has autism and whether or not this is their first flight. They will be able to assist you better if they know! They may be able to make some accommodations for you and your child as well (e.g., board first, deplane first, extra walks around the cabin, drinks/snacks once on the plane, etc)
- Call ahead. Call your airline and find out what they can do to help. You may be pleasantly surprised!
As promised here are some additional resources:
A new national initiative in the US via The Arc “Wings For Autism”
15 Airports in the US that have a Autism “flying rehearsal” program
For you all in the UK: Manchester Airports resources for flying with autism
What message have you been told (eh hem…lied to) about your child or children in general, that have autism? Have you been told they will never speak? Never ride a bike? Never play a sport?
No two children are the same and many are ABLE. At times, they just need to be taught how to do certain things, like ride a bike. This is not THAT different from you and I. The concept of teaching a skill is something that varies for ALL of us. Some of us pick up on things naturally while others have to be taught.
In my opinion, the sky is NOT the limit and I encourage you to pay attention to the word ABLE and what your child CAN do. Then build from there. And don’t let others limit this for you or your child. Here’s a message on this topic… be sure to listen and follow us over on our facebook page where I go live weekly to discuss topics related to autism. Join us over here: http://fb.com/halliebulkinbiz
Have a GREAT day!
Hallie (and sleeping Lily)